We were lucky that our schedule landed us in Phuket during the weekend because we were able to visit Naka market. This market has two different areas, one dedicated to food and the other dedicated to shopping. We obviously were there for the food… When we walked into the market, we were completely overwhelmed with the amount of food stalls and didn’t know where to start. The first thing we saw were these balls of rice that had been fried to a golden brown color. We initially assumed that you just ate the rice balls as is. So you could imagine our surprise when the chef grabbed on and smashed it into pieces in a bowl. We were so confused and then realized that this was the traditional larb, a crispy rice dish mixed with minced pork, onions and seasoning. We decided we would give it a try. For 35 baht ($1), what do we have to lose? Oh boy, was it good! The rice was so crunchy and gave the dish great texture. We asked for only the tiniest bit of chilis, but event that was a little too spicy for Steven.
We continued walking as we enjoyed our first part of dinner. The next stand to catch our eye was one with round and square white dumplings. We weren’t sure what was inside and the woman cooking them pointed to a banner with photos of carrot, taro, chives, spinach and a few other veggies. They were vegetable dumplings unlike anything I have ever seen. We grabbed a box of assorted flavors and a small back of dipping sauce. Being that we were in a pretty crowded marketplace, we tore open the sauce and poured it on top for easy handling. These dumplings were perfection in a little pocket. They were warm and crunch and doughy all at the same time. The fillings were pure vegetables and it was very apparent that they were very fresh. Before we knew it they were gone. I was tempted to go back and get another round but realized how many stalls we hadn’t been to yet. We decided to keep going and trying some new food.
Next, we spotted mango sticky rice. We had probably eaten enough mango sticky rice during our trip thus far, but this was our last night in Thailand and felt that it was a necessary last meal to have. We bought a set and kept it to eat later on in the night. Next to the mango sticky rice was one of our favorite things to find in Southeast Asia! It is sticky rice with beans that is cooked inside of the a hollowed out bamboo stalk. We knew that would be the next item on our list for dinner and it was only 50 baht. One of the men working at the stall cracked one open for us with his hatchet. It was still very warm inside and was so delicious. We enjoyed the sticky rice with beans while we walked around and decided what to have next.
It was a pretty hard decision, but we passed by a fried chicken stand that had quite the line and looked great. We decided to have two drumsticks and, although it doesn’t beat the fried chicken lady’s in Koh Tao, it was really good. The chicken was not oily at all and the temperature was still hot, which is definitely a good thing. I get worried sometimes about food that has been sitting out, but the market is so busy that the food is cooked seconds before you pick it up at the stalls, so you’re safe here. After chicken we passed a stall that had quite a long line of what seemed to be mostly locals. The sign read octopus and crab balls and they were flying off the shelf faster than they could be made. We grabbed a box of 5 for 35 baht. They were topped with two sauces, one was mayo based and the other was a brown sauce. They were light and fluffy and had chunks of fresh seafood, definitely a must try!
At this point we were starting to get full, so we moved on to dessert. We enjoyed the traditional rotti filled with sweet condensed milk and bananas and topped with chocolate sauce. We also had two buns, one filled with black sesames and the other filled with red bean.
We walked around the goods market for a bit and then went back to the hotel for the rest of the night. We loved Naka market and if you are in Phuket during the weekend definitely check it out!
Follow your tummy…
-Jess and Steven
May 29, 2016